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COVID-19 Work Plan: Reduction of surface bacteria in office and other work environments

To our valued clients,

Our current global climate has created an unprecedented atmosphere - one that is full of questions and concerns. Ellis has been approached by numerous clients searching for professional direction on cleaning and disinfecting their facilities. While there is no CDC or CDPH-approved clearance sampling protocol for testing following decontamination of surfaces impacted by the COVID-19 virus, the attached work plan has been effective in reducing overall surface bacteria and biological contaminants.  We offer it here for your use without charge or warranty.  

This method IS labor-intensive and intended for use by an experienced abatement contractor with a trained crew.  Its success will depend on constant professional oversight and direction by a 3rd party consultant to ensure the labor is performed thoroughly, carefully, and as designed. 

Best regards,

Ellis Professional Staff 

Note: If you need professional assistance to disinfect your facility, please contact us to discuss the details of your specific situation to receive a project quote.

Call: 310-544-1837

General Work Plan

Reducing Non-Specific Biological Surface Contaminants


Description of Hazard: Office spaces have the potential to house a large number of potential biological surface contaminants. Cluttered desk areas, food, and the hygiene of occupants all contribute to this potential. While general housekeeping operations help to reduce this potential, a more thorough disinfecting process, performed by a licensed cleaning contractor and combined with constant professional guidance and inspections, can further reduce the presence of surface contaminants and biological hazards.  

Type of Hazard: Recognized biohazard; possible bacterial or viral infection, particularly in immunocompromised individuals.

Modes of Transmission: Potential physical contact with contaminated persons and/or surfaces; particularly where persons touch contaminated surfaces and touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

Routes of Entry: Entry may occur with contact with mucous membranes (eyes, nose, and mouth).



Workplace activities involving infectious or biological agents require containment so that workers, the immediate work environment, and the community including those outside the immediate workplace are protected or shielded from exposure.

This is achieved through (1) engineering controls, (2) good work practices, (3) appropriate safety equipment, and (4) constant monitoring, guidance and inspection by an independent 3rd-party industrial hygiene firm



The following engineering controls, when combined with proper worker training and work methods, will help ensure that any potential biological hazards are contained within the work area.

  1. Establish a regulated area with signs and barrier tape.  Signs shall conform to CDC/NIH guidelines (Biosafety Level 2).
  2. Seal all penetrations into the work area with two layers of 6-mil poly sheeting and tape (“critical barriers”). 
  3. Ensure that the HVAC system is either (a) shut down or (b) isolated by installing 2 layers of poly sheeting at all supply and return vents.
  4. Install sufficient HEPA negative air filtration at one end of the work area to ensure a constant and visible flow of air into the work area.  Place exhaust points facing upward and 10 feet above the nearest ground surface. 
  5. Install a 3-stage wash station (Decon Unit) at the entrance to the work area.  Maintain an adequate supply of disinfectant soap and warm water inside the decon unit.  Ensure that all workers are completely clean and disinfect hair, face, and other exposed skin prior to exiting the work area.
  6. If space is available, install a separate wash station and waste decon unit.   This unit will be a single large chamber suitable for cleaning exterior surfaces of packaged waste prior to removal. Maintain a clean wash down area in front of this waste decon unit.  Have disposable layers of 6 mil poly, mops, rags and disinfectant solution at hand.
  7. Prior to actual work start, request an independent inspection of engineering controls by the IH monitor. 



The following personal protective equipment (PPE), when combined with proper worker training, supervision and 3rd party guidance, will help to maintain a safe working environment for employees performing initial cleaning activities.

  1. Respirators.  Full-face (recommended) or ½ face APR with eye protection (mandatory).  Organic/HEPA filters. 
  2. Clothing.  Tyvek or similar non-permeable, non-breathing protective coveralls.  Ensure that workers remove all street clothing prior to donning the protective suit.
  3. Headwear.  Cover all hair with a disposable, non-vented shower cap or similar.  Do not allow exposed hair inside the work area.
  4. Eye protection.  In lieu of a full-faced APR, goggles shall be required inside the work area at all times. Thoroughly clean and disinfect eyewear as part of the decontamination process.
  5. Footwear. Calf length, standard black irrigation boots with outer impermeable lining. Thoroughly clean and disinfect eyewear as part of the decontamination process.
  6. Hand protection.  4-mil (min.) disposable “gauntlet”-type poly gloves, taped and sealed to Tyvek suit at the forearm.
  7. All workers shall immediately report any breaches to PPE (or any potential exposures) to their foreman or supervisor/competent person.
  8. Workers must be trained on the hazards of the chemical agents used in the cleaning/disinfection process in accordance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  9. All persons performing cleaning activities, and their employers, must comply with OSHA’s standards on Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030) including disposal of regulated waste, and PPE (29 CFR 1910.132)



  1. Airless mister is capable of 2,000 psi at point of release.
  2. Sufficient disposable mop heads. 
  3. Sufficient disposable cloth rags.
  4. Cutting tools. Provide initial safety training in the use of sharp equipment.  Decontaminate all cutting tools at the end of the project.
  5. Prepare a solution of 1 part 3-5% chlorine bleach and 1 part low suds, anti-bacterial detergent mixed with 4 parts water.  Test initial concentration of bleach/detergent as the project progresses. Reduce the amount of bleach if complaints of irritated eyes or skin persist. DO NOT mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser.
  6. If bleach is not appropriate for some surfaces, disinfecting agents with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogen claims may be used with prior approval.
  7. 4 mil-poly sheeting and tape for double-wrapping, packaging, and disposal of contaminated items.  6-mil poly bags may be used to contain smaller items.



  1. Provide an enclosed area adjacent to the decontamination unit for workers to remove street clothing and don personal protective equipment.
  2. All workers shall enter and exit the work area through a single decontamination unit, located as far as possible from public access.
  3. For visibly dirty surfaces, perform initial cleaning activities prior to further disinfecting surfaces. Cleaning should be performed using approved detergents and chemical agents listed in the “Tools and Equipment” section of this document.
  4. Immediately transfer used cleaning rags/mops/towels to 6-mil poly waste bags. “Goose necking” and sealing bags with standard duct tape prior to moving waste to the wash down location in front of the waste decon unit.
  5. Wash down the station.  Spray wrapped/bagged materials and other items with bleach/disinfectant solution. Prior to removing from the work area, wrap waste again in another new 6-mil poly waste bag.  Tape all seams with standard duct tape.  Move the wrapped waste into the decon chamber.  Immediately mop or wipe down the floor of the wash down station, and/or replace temporary floor sheeting as required. Keep this area clean at all times.
  6. Inside the waste decon chamber, 2 workers will wipe down containerized waste with clean rags that have been dampened (but not soaked) in bleach/disinfectant solution. Bag soiled rags as they accumulate.  Dispose of these materials along with other rags/mops/towels used in the cleaning and disinfecting process.
  7. Move containerized waste out of the decon unit and immediately transport the waste to a designated container.
  8. If clothing or other similar items are identified in the work area, gently gather and place in 6-mil poly waste bags labeled with a “launder” or similar label. Do not shake these items prior to containerization. Launder according to manufacturer instructions on the warmest appropriate water settings for the items; dry completely. 



Perform the following under the constant supervision of an independent 3rd party IH

  1. Maintain a clean wash down station next to the inner (3rd) chamber of the decon unit. It is here that workers will first clean and remove their protective rubber boots.  Step into the 3rd (inner) decon chamber.
  2. Remove Tyvek suit, gloves and other PPE inside the 3rd chamber.  After removal, roll up each article of clothing so that any soiled surfaces are to the center.  Place removed garments in a 6 mil poly waste bag adjacent to the inner chamber. Dispose of soiled PPE along with the containerized waste.
  3. Still wearing a respirator, move to the 2nd (middle) chamber.  Clean all body surfaces (including hair) and respirator surfaces with antibacterial soap and warm water.  Take the extra time to clean any skin that may have been accidentally exposed while in the work area.
  4. Move to the first (outer) chamber.  Remove and re-clean respirator thoroughly.  Dry body and hair thoroughly with disposable towels.  Place wet towels in 6 mil bags for disposal with containerized waste.
  5. Move into the outer changing area and don street clothes.



  1. Maintain a dumpster adjacent to the work area and as close as possible to the waste decon unit.
  2. Ensure that all waste is completely wrapped and decontaminated prior to transport through the building, as outside workers will not be wearing personal protective equipment.
  3. Keep the dumpster locked whenever it is not in use.
  4. Coordinate transport and disposal to approved landfill (if necessary) with EH&S and Facilities Department.  If the material will be disposed of as normal construction waste, ensure that the landfill is informed of the nature of the waste. 



  1. Prior to removing engineering controls, wipe down all remaining surfaces (walls, floors and other permanent items) with bleach/disinfectant solution.  Dry with clean rags.
  2. Call for inspection by the 3rd – party IH.
  3. Maintain and operate the negative filtration system for a minimum of 24 hours following completion of cleaning operations but before removing critical barriers and returning the HVAC system to normal service.
  4. During this 24 hour period, the Owner’s representative will perform surface sampling inside the work area with a swab sampling kit.  Samples will be analyzed for general biological contaminants/bacteria (present or absent).
  5. Disconnect and remove negative filtration units at the end of 24 hour settling period.  Maintain critical barriers in place until results from clearance sampling have been received, usually 1 to 2 days. 
  6. Following a final inspection by the 3rd party IH, remove remaining critical barriers and signs.  Make a final inspection of the work area for damage and or remaining soiled items.

The listed procedures may be used in conjunction with a variety of broadcast, disinfectant delivery systems, including airless misters, UV light or other approved method. Contractor to submit for approval prior to application.  Include information on products used, mixing ratios and delivery methods (e.g. airless mister).  Broadcast application of disinfectants shall be employed as secondary to primary, wipe down efforts of horizontal surfaces.”

Note: If you need professional assistance to disinfect your facility, please contact us to discuss the details of your specific situation to receive a project quote.

Call: 310-544-1837